Greenland’s ice sheet is no closer to melting than that of Antarctica, indicates a study reported by five scientists at Britain’s University of Southampton in the March 8 issue of Nature magazine.
The scientists report extensive ice-rafted sedimentary debris was deposited in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea roughly 30 to 38 million years ago. Evidence indicates the sediment was carried by glacial ice rather than sea ice, which in turn indicates glaciers existed on Greenland “about 20 million years earlier than previously documented, at a time when temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were substantially higher” than they are today.
According to the University of Southampton scientists, at the time Greenland glaciers deposited the sedimentary debris, ocean bottom-water temperatures were 5 to 8 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today, and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were up to four times greater than today’s.
“Our data provide the stratigraphically extensive evidence for the existence of continental ice in the Northern Hemisphere during the Palaeogene,” the scientists report, which “is about 20 million years earlier than previously documented, at a time when global deep water temperatures and, by extension, surface water temperatures at high latitude, were much warmer.”
Given the existence of Greenland glaciers when temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were much greater than exist today, “there is great reason to not only doubt, but to reject out-of-hand, Mr. Gore’s scare stories of sea levels rapidly rising tens of feet in response to his implied rapid demise of the Greenland Ice Sheet,” said Craig Idso, founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. “We now have evidence of a much warmer period of time that failed to bring about such a catastrophic consequence.”
— James M. Taylor